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By William T. Skilling; Robert S. Richardson

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Many different types of experiments are in On March 7, 1947, scientists of the Naval Research Laboratory at White Sane Mexico, secured a photograph of the earth taken from a V-2 rocket at an elevation 100 miles, far higher than any photograph ever taken before. Valuable new information \vas also obtained on this flight concerning pressures and ter peratures in the upper atmosphere, the intensity of the very penetrating radiation from out space called cosmic rays, the nature of the electrified layers that reflect radio waves back earth known as the ionosphere, and the ultraviolet light from the sun that never reaches u Most of this information was radioed back to the observers automatically from instrumen within the rocket itself, but the photographic films had to be recovered by search parties.

As the axis changes its direction The points where the so docs the equator change its plane. celestial equator intersects the ecliptic, or apparent path of the sun, are called the equinoxes. They are the points where to the sun, traveling in the ecliptic, crosses the equator, coming north in March, and going south in September. Ancient astronomers noticed that these crossing points of the sun were gradually working their way to the westward with reference to the stars. Each year the v^ernal equinox would go forward a little, with respect to the sun's daily motion, to meet the sun coming out of the west in its apparent annual course around the earth.

Later and more refined measurements have shown that the polar regions are enough flatter to make J-fo of a mile longer there than at the equator This shows a flattening at the poles sufficient to a degree (Fig. 10). Pole Fig. 10. fect If the sphere and if earth were a perthe curvature of the earth were determined by that north pole, the circle labeled '"Long degrees" would represent at the the earth. 7 miles greater. The cause of the flattening at the poles is, of course, centhe equatorial diameter.

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Astronomy by William T. Skilling; Robert S. Richardson


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